Startup investor Jason Calacanis raises millions for Twitter stake

Startup investor Jason Calacanis raises millions for Twitter stake

Jason Calacanis

Adam Jefferies | CNBC

Angel investor Jason Calacanis, an early backer of Uber and Robinhood, is trying to raise tens of millions of dollars for a stake in Twitter as part of Elon Musk’s $44 billion deal to buy the social media company.

“We are now gathering interest to invest in Twitter with Elon Musk’s plan to take it private,” Calacanis wrote in a message asking for funds from his network of high net worth individuals. CNBC looked at Calacanis’ email to potential investors.

The minimum investment required to participate is $250,000, Calacanis wrote, adding that the fees he charges for the deal will total around $18,000. As manager of the fund, he also charges 10% of the carry, or profits, derived from the investment.

Calacanis is a longtime friend and fan of Musk, often expressing support for Tesla’s CEO on his podcasts This Week in Startups and The All-In Podcast. Calacanis even joined Musk in New York last year when the prominent CEO was a guest host on Saturday Night Live.

#SNL The rehearsal was amazing,” Calacanis wrote in a tweet. “The entire production was incredible to watch.”

Additionally, at the height of the controversy in 2018, friendly text messages between Calacanis and Musk were recently released on Twitter in a class action lawsuit filed by shareholders against Tesla and Musk over the CEO’s previous statement that he was taking Tesla private.

Calacanis asked Musk, “Are you holding up well? Sounds like you’ve had an intense week,” and said in another that people “just make nonsense” about him. “It’s crazy,” he wrote. He also told Musk he “checkmated those little B—–s,” referring to Tesla critics and short sellers.

A judge in that case concluded that Musk knowingly misrepresented that “funding” was secured for a take-private deal with Tesla.

Musk, the world’s richest person with a net worth of over $200 billion, has raised funds from friends and investor groups after agreeing to buy Twitter in April. A filing last week revealed that he received over $7 billion from a group that included Oracle co-founder and Tesla director Larry Ellison, venture firms Sequoia and Andreessen Horowitz, and crypto platform Binance.

Pavlo Gonchar | Light Rocket | Getty Images

Should his attempt to buy Twitter succeed, Musk is expected to serve as interim CEO of the influential social network. Musk has said he would allow former President Donald Trump to return to the site, although Trump said he will not return and will instead continue to post on his own burgeoning social network called Truth Social.

The former president’s Twitter account had about 89 million followers and was permanently suspended on Jan. 8, 2021, led by Jack Dorsey, “due to the risk of further incitement to violence” following the Jan. 6 attacks on the US Capitol, the said company at that time.

Calacanis wrote on Twitter on May 10 that while he “enjoyed Trump’s hiatus,” he didn’t think the former president should have been permanently banned. Rather, he should have been fired for a year and then additional time if he again violated the terms of service, Calacanis said.

“Keeping him off the platform only radicalizes his followers and gives more fuel to their claims of being silenced – making them vote more!” he tweeted.

Calacanis did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

For the type of fund Calacanis raises, the SEC limits the number of qualified buyers to 2,000. If he raised the minimum investment of 2,000 companies, that would be a $500 million fund.

According to the SEC, to be a qualified buyer, a company must have at least $5 million in investments, while to be an accredited individual investor, an individual must have a net worth of over $1 million or an annual income of must have at least $200,000.

Musk is expected to speak at the Calacanis All-In Summit, which begins this weekend in Miami.

Disclosure: Saturday Night Live is a television show produced by NBCUniversal, CNBC’s parent company.

WATCH: Elon Musk will temporarily serve as Twitter CEO after the acquisition

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